Progressing Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Asia-Pacific

Background:

Gender budgeting, or gender-responsive budgeting, is a tool for realizing gender equality, as well as being a key requirement for good governance. Gender budgeting is beneficial in fostering women’s participation in economic decision-making, recognizing unpaid work, addressing income gaps, allocating resources that foster women’s salaried and entrepreneurial work and in supporting women’s access to and control of resources. Additionally, gender budgeting is a process whereby the factors contributing to decisions about the allocation of resources are made explicit, thereby promoting accountability.

As set out in the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as in national laws and policies, achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is essential for economic, social and environmentally sustainable development and enabling women and girls to reach their full potential. At the regional level, the “Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” was adopted by member States of ESCAP in November 2014. Among the four key areas for action highlighted in the Ministerial Declaration were “strengthen accountability systems” and “increase financing.” One indicator for action in these areas is “institutionalized gender-responsive budgeting across the public sector, whether by legislation, regulation or other means.”

Objective:

To enhance the capacities of government officials from national women’s machineries, ministries of finance and planning as well as line ministries with respect to gender-responsive budgeting, such that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to foster the institutionalisation of gender-responsive budgeting in their countries.

To aid government officials in (a) understanding the benefits and various dimensions of gender-responsive budgeting as a concrete means to mainstreaming gender into national development processes; (b) identifying the forms of gender-responsive budgeting that are suitable for their national contexts for initial adoption; and (c) formulating a proposal and strategy to advocate for adoption and implementation of gender-responsive budgeting by their national governments.

Strategy and activities:

The project will adopt a strategy comprised of (a) South-South cooperation, (b) knowledge sharing and exchange of good practices, and (c) provision of technical expertise in devising nationally-viable plans for the uptake or expansion of gender-responsive budgeting.

The project will comprise (a) the production of a gender-responsive budgeting guide; (b) the holding of a national training workshop in Cambodia, China and Lao PDR, respectively, in 2016; and (c) the organization of a regional forum in Bangkok during the first half of 2017, to promote the knowledge on gender-responsive budgeting and enhance political commitment.

In terms of the training workshops, one gender-responsive budgeting workshop will be held in each of the above-mentioned three participating countries. The training workshops will bring together key government officials from the national women’s machinery, ministries of finance, planning and investment, industry and trade, agriculture, education, health and labour, wherein they will undertake an introductory course on gender-responsive budgeting. The training will engage international resource persons from UN agencies, as well as countries that have implemented gender-responsive planning and budgeting, utilizing the active learning and appreciative inquiry methodologies.

The project will feed into project result of the ESCAP Capacity Development Project “Strengthening equality policies and programmes in Asia and the Pacific”

Project result - Member States adopt measures to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing+20 review outcomes, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and other relevant international commitments, including mainstreaming gender into national processes

Partners and participants:

To execute this project, ESCAP will partner with UN Women, and the national women’s machineries of the three participating countries, including:

  • All-China Women’s Federation
  • Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia
  • National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Lao PDR.

Also participating in the project will be selected gender-responsive budgeting experts, drawn from UN agencies and development banks, academia and from countries in which gender-responsive budgeting is officially mandated and implemented, such as Indonesia and the Philippines.